Yoga and the Earth Element

Earthly Yoga

Earth.  We can see it, feel it, touch it, certainly taste it, and smell it. It’s right under us, and all around us.  We can’t be anywhere without it.  Its attributes are honored by the farmer, herald by the gardener, studied by the scientist, explored by the adventurer, abused by the ignorant, praised by the conscious, feared by the vulnerable, captured by the artist, and enjoyed by all in their favored season.

What’s curious to me is that unless we dig, we only see her surface.  Her textures and appearance are the results of millennia of weather.  Throughout time she has existed and literally rolled with the punches spinning in space dependent on the closeness of the sun and the reflections of the moon while her other solar systems ancestors’ influence are less felt and understood.

When I consider yoga and the influence of earth, I think of algebra which appeals to my Libra nature. In the order of operations what you do on one side of the equation, you must do on the other is a frequent consideration.  Placing the earth in the position of the equal sign, one side of the equation reflects what is below – out of sight, dense, gross, and internal, while the other side of the equation reflects what is above – visible, spacious, subtle and external.

As I replace the earth image with my body in this equation ideas light up like fireflies.   My skin as the surface of the earth element has a depth that’s unknown without exploration.  Unless I am purposeful, I could live in my mind, thinking, studying, developing ideas and allow the activities of my physical body to operate on automatic. The complete practice of yoga’s eight limbs unites my spiritual consciousness with my mental and physical experience.  Here the equation gets solved – I am one, we are one.  

I take myself to the mat – outdoors as often as possible.  My practice is like a dig, my breath and movement my tools of exploration, sensations abound. The process reveals the quality of my soil. When cultivated with a regular yoga, I can move my joints with willing ligaments that respond and participate in the flow of prana.  In the absence of regular practice, I am more like clay.  I dig and meet an unwilling internal space, dry, compact heavy and most certainly unwilling.

I have come to respect the truth of my body’s expression.  The quality of my bones, organs, tissues reflects the attention and condition I’ve cultivated.  And like the earth, my body is subject to father sun and mother moon, as well as the ancestral DNA of other planetary bodies and beings further back in my history.  From this perspective, I accept the import and power of my actions-how I choose to live in my body and mind.  How I care, feed and attune to its sensory experience informs my nervous system and inspires action.   At times the response is overwhelming, especially when issues arise.  I am touched by the realization that my primary relationship as always been with life and the elements that support my life: ether, air, fire water and earth.  It is a poignant awakening.  Yoga and Ayurvedic wisdom have provided profound access to collaborating with the source and elements of life.  I hope in some way you are benefiting too.  I’d loved to hear what’s awakening in you.